We, the parents, students, staff, friends and family of the Van Nuys community at Van Nuys Middle School (VNMS), are petitioning to retract the displacement of Ms. Jessica Garcia.

Rationale: During a School Site Council (SSC) meeting in early 2021, Principal Cristina Serrano of Van Nuys Middle School assured the council that NO STAFF would be displaced for the 2021-2022 school year, and that she would put money aside to make sure this happened. This meeting took place when the discussion of the school budget arose and the topic of extra money allocation was reviewed by SSC. The committee took her word for it and did not pursue the issues any further. Recently, the VNMS community found out that Ms. Garcia Jessica would not be returning next year and instead an additional staff member for another department would be hired. It is the community’s opinion that this displacement of Ms. Garcia is not fiscally warranted and needs to be reversed.

Background: About two years ago a PE teacher was hired without an interview. There was no vacancy in the PE Department at that time. The PE Department Chair and UTLA representatives were NOT informed or consulted. The un-interviewed PE teacher, rumored to be the principal's close friend, now holds the highest seniority in the department. Ms. Garcia, on the other hand, was properly vetted and interviewed for her position. Ms. Garcia is a Spanish speaker which this school of predominantly English Learners needs. Ms. Garcia has also created a respectable professional bond with her students, parents, students and staff.

School Climate and Culture: Students need stability and structure in their PE classes. Ms. Garcia provides these things and more everyday as a valued member of the VNMS family. But this is not only about saving a teacher from displacement. It is about the students social emotional welfare. In today's COVID world, the students battle with depression, anxiety, obesity and more, that lead to self-esteem issues, bullying and so much more. Physical Education plays a strong role in improving the lives of today's adolescents. Physical development, health and proper nutrition empower students with the skills to develop resilience and patience in order to increase performance, as well as, to help them practice communication and problem solving skills on and off campus. Ms. Garcia plays a central role in teaching and mentoring all of these life skills to our students at VNMS. She has demonstrated great teaching skills. She motivates students to do their best.  In short, Ms. Garcia’s way of teaching and delivering her material is irreplaceable to our campus.

Conclusion: So we ask... Why change something that was already in motion and working for our students without properly advising your team of the change? Why over staff the physical department? Why hire another PE teacher when there was ABSOLUTELY NO VACANCY?

Van Nuys Middle School will feel a huge morale gap if she leaves. We ask for Ms. Garcia to be reinstated at Van Nuys Middle School for the year 2021-2022 school year. Please retract Ms. Garcia displacement


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